In the town of Zaria in northern Nigeria, the Moslem festival of Id-el-Kabir was celebrated on Saturday (11 November) by thousands of people.
In the town of Zaria in northern Nigeria, the Moslem festival of Id-el-Kabir was celebrated on Saturday (11 November) by thousands of people. Apart from the colourful dancing and religious ceremony, the feast-day was marked with the traditional slaughter of rams.
SYNOPSIS: The centre of the world-wide celebration of the Moslem religious day was in Saudi Arabia. Those who could not make the annual pilgrimage of prayer and festivities to Mount Ararat, recreated the ceremony in their home town. Id-el-Kabir is one of the two festivals of the Moslem calendar. The culmination of a day of prayer and celebration is the sacrifice of live animals to commemorate the ransom of Ismail with a ram.
The traditional Moslem ruler of the region, the Emir, was the focus for much of the ceremony, riding a horse shielded by an umbrella. The Nigerian military Head of State, Lieutenant-General Olusegun Obasanjo drew attention to the contemporary ethnic significance of the Id-el-Kabir festival in a speech on Saturday. General Obasanjo said less emphasis should be put on exchanging presents and more on celebrating this important religious holy day. He sent good will messages to Moslems all over the world and particularly those Nigerians attending the ceremony in Saudi Arabia.
After the prayers -- the sacrificial slaughter. The Chief Imam, or priest, performed the traditional killing of a ram in Zaria's central square. Throughout Nigeria, the sacrifice of animals was being repeated, and in his address General Obasanjo drew attention to the implications of the ceremony, reminding Moslems that the principle of sacrifice was central to Islamic teaching, promoting the ideal of self-discipline and personal sacrifice.